Once again, another NFL season will end without Colin Kaepernick taking a picture. For a few fleeting moments, it emerged that Kaepernick might be able to return to the league that blacked him three years ago for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequalities. The league settled his case for collusion; brought aboard Kaepernick’s ally Jay-Z as a business partner; and organized official training for the quarterback. But it turned out that the two sides were arguing over the details of the training, and Jay-Z said it was time to move beyond kneeling. It’s safe to say that Kaepernick’s NFL career is unofficially over – and this time for sure.
The story will not reflect nicely on the NFL, but fortunately for Kaepernick, he knew how to build a second robust and successful career: martyr.
Earlier this week, Nike unveiled new Kaepernick Air Force 1 sneakers, and the shoes sold out online within a day. They are inscribed with the date “08 14 16”, which is the moment when Kaepernick began his transcendent protest.
The success of Nike’s Kaepernick sneaker model is another sign that the clothing conglomerate’s controversial decision to bring him on board as one of the faces of its 30th anniversary âJust Do Itâ campaign has been a financial boon for the two parts. Who knew that being in exile paid off so well?
During the quarter, Nike announced the partnership with Kaepernick, the company announced a 10% increase in revenue to $ 847 million, with its stock also ending at a high level. Kaepernick, meanwhile, would paid millions of dollars a year in cash endorsement.
At this point, it’s probably best for the Kaepernick-Nike partnership if the QB never plays for an NFL team again. This adds to its irresistible martyrdom, and make no mistake about it, is good for the brand.
While it’s understandable that Kaepernick doesn’t have good things to say about the NFL – and he’s almost certainly winning less with Nike than he would have as a starting quarterback – he’s not acting. as someone who wishes to make amends. In the aftermath of his November training, which his team moved at the last moment due to the league’s bizarre refusal to allow media into the facility and issues with the legal waiver he was allegedly forced to to sign, Kaepernick called the commissioner by name. .
“So we are waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all to stop running, stop running from the truth, stop running from people,” Kaepernick said, via CBS Sports. âAround here we’re ready to play, we’re ready to go anywhere, my agent Jeff Nalley is ready to talk to any team. I will interview any team at any time.
These are combative words and don’t mean Kaepernick is ready to surrender, despite agreeing to a settlement earlier this year. From a marketing standpoint, it is smart for Kaepernick to continue to portray itself as the ultimate outsider. Even though he last took a professional snapshot during the Obama administration, his brand hasn’t cooled off. In February, Nike released its $ 150 Kaepernick Icon jersey, which sold out online in just a few hours.
Kaepernick’s jerseys have been popular sellers since his event started in 2016. The following year his jersey remained in the top 50 sellers, and last year his “#IMWITHKAP” jerseys also sold out immediately. Part of the profits went to his foundation.
It would be interesting to see if Kaepernick’s brand would retain the same aura if he took snaps for the Jaguars or some other obscure team in need of QB. Only actors of bad faith could blame Kaepernick for his return to professional football, which he says continues to be his ultimate goal. But then again, the one who compromises and ends up going back to the organization that tarnished him is a lot less cool than the one who sticks to his principles.
In the past three years, Kaepernick hasn’t said much. And when he did, he often asked for privacy. In 2018, he banned the media from showing his speech when he accepted the prestigious WEB Du Bois medal from Harvard University. His silence is apparently part of the draw.
Kaepernick will ultimately be remembered by the NFL history books as one of the many quarterbacks who saw short-lived success in the league. But the American history books, which are far more significant, will remember him as a martyr. It seems Kaepernick is at peace with this reality. The fact that it’s also financially lucrative probably doesn’t hurt matters.